Monday, December 29, 2008

What is Religion Coming to?


Over the weekend I was enthralled by another teasingly brief National Geographic show entitled “Secrets of the Revelation.” It started out telling the story of the author of the Book of Revelation, John. It first summarized the main points of the book literally – ten headed beast, the anti-Christ, the whore of Babylon, etc. Then the episode turned to the widely accepted interpretation of the symbolic meaning to the nightmare-like visions of John. It was all very ‘common’. What did get my attention were the following items.


One of the individuals commentating on the Book of Revelation was Pastor Carlton Pearson of the New Dimensions Church. I thought it was interesting since he was not one of the ‘usual’ authorities on theology (for example Professor Elaine Pagels, Princeton University). As I continued to watch it became evident why Pastor Pearson’s opinion was sought by National Geographic. He recently changed his views on the existence of Hell. In essence, he stated on the program that he could not believe that the loving god of Christianity would allow all of his children to suffer for eternity in a place like Hell. Because of this epiphany, the bishops of the Pentecostal Church have branded him a heretic. Pastor Pearson is no light-weight in the Christian Evangelical community. Eight years ago, Pearson headed a congregation of about 6,000 members and pulled an average of $60,000 a week to the church coffers. He had a national audience as guest host on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. He was on the Oral Roberts University Board of Trustees. He was among a handful of national black religious leaders advising then-President-elect George W. Bush. Pastor Pearson is still preaching with the All Souls Unitarian Church, although his congregation is considerably smaller. [http://thepopeofpentecost.wordpress.com/2008/09/28/carlton-pearson-closes-his-church-tulsa-ministry-closed-by-pastor/]


Wow! Christian thought is coming around to ‘there may not be a Hell – at all….’


The National Geographic episode also made mention that there has been theologists kicking around the idea that maybe the whole Book of Revelation should be removed from the Holy Bible! Removing a book from the Bible?! The Vatican would never allow it! Yet….


Towards the end of the program Mr. John L. Allen, Jr., of the National Catholic Reporter, stated:
“The International Theological Commission, which is the chief advisory body to the Vatican on doctrinal questions, is today working on a document – it will for the first time, in official form, say this: that Christians can hope that hell will be empty.”


The narrator responds, “The belief is that even the worst sinners may be redeemed and sent to Heaven.” [http://www.opensourcetheology.net/node/1340]


!!!


What is Religion coming to? Could we be witnessing the beginning of the end of cults who blindly follow the “Great-God-of-Thou-Shalt-Not”? Are we evolving a new concept of ‘god’?


Now Pastor Pearson’s opinion is just that – a theory. (Good for him for thinking – using the brain his god gave him!) And I could find no evidence to back up the ramblings of removing Revelation. And if the Vatican (the black hole for any esoteric knowledge which falls in reach of its claws) is working on a document proposing salvation through Grace alone, I guess we will have to wait and trust that it gets completed and PUBLISHED. But I have recently read something interesting.


In about 1135 C.E., a prophet by the name of Joachim devised a Theory of Three. He identified the Old Testament as the Age of the Father which was the time of fear and obedience. The New Testament was equated with the Age of the Son and ushered a time of the Church and faith. But he also predicted the coming of the Age of the Spirit which he stated will be a time when the Church will no longer be necessary and freedom and love would prevail. This is also known to many of us as the Age of Aquarius. [The Secret History of the World, Mark Booth]


Look around. Things are changing in the world at a phenomenal rate. We are no longer isolated groups of people stuck in our beliefs and thoughts. We are quickly becoming a united, global community sharing information and ideas at the speed of light. How long can ‘Religion’ be kept on life support?


2012 C.E. - - - ?

1 comment:

Dan said...

The Church, and I mean that in the very broadest of senses, must evolve. It is in danger of becoming irrelevant by doing exactly what Jesus told the Pharisees not to do; don't presume you have all inclusive knowledge of God. The God is so much more than any doctrine or faith can encapsulate- including mine.